Lifestyle changes are one of the most challenging goals to achieve. Adopting and adjusting to these vital changes require tenacity, support, and plenty of reminders. And, neglecting them while sticking to old habits is always detrimental to your health, productivity, and interactions with both living and non-living things.
George Bernard Shaw, an Irish political activist, said,
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
Hold this quote in your mind for a second…
In this New Year (as a goal-setting person), I wrote a lot of expectations and areas I would love to see improvement. With this decision, I see that following last year’s guide would only give me last year’s result. Similar to you, whether or not you are goal-oriented, surely you crave progress, and with that craving comes the commitment to realign your mindset.
Mind you, lifestyle changes are not limited to mindset shifting only. By definition, lifestyle is your approach/reaction to every part of your life, from faith to beauty, academics, family, etc. So, on the contrary, lifestyle changes have a lot to do with your habits, behaviors (good/bad), diet, health habits, and more. It has to do with how you live some parts of your life differently by adopting new outlooks for a common end goal: progress.
However, there are several lifestyle changes you can adopt, to improve your overall health, including eating more fruits. But before you go straight to reading about the ten (10) lifestyle changes and to gaining perspective on the importance of these changes, let’s talk about how these changes affect your health.
HOW LIFESTYLE CHANGES AFFECT HEALTH.
As stated, lifestyle changes are adjustments made to your usual way of living to be more productive, healthier, and happier than you currently are. Likewise, people undergo lifestyle changes because their current way of living isn’t as productive as it ought to be.
The question now is, What does changing the way I live have to do with my health?
Everything! Your lifestyle isn’t just about the clothes you wear, the cars you drive, or your net worth; your lifestyle comprises everything about you, including your behavior and habits. You’re probably not reading this for the first time, or maybe you are, but being healthy isn’t only about how you are in the physical aspect. You also need to have a good mental and emotional well-being, and good physical well-being before you are considered ‘HEALTHY!’
Many people follow an unhealthy lifestyle which affects their physical, mental, and emotional health. These unhealthy lifestyles include smoking, drug abuse, unhealthy eating and sleeping habits, lack of health management, and so on.
Over time, research and studies have shown a strong relationship between nutrition, physical activity, and health. According to WHO, 60% of related factors to individual health and quality of life are connected to lifestyle.
Do you now see the relevance of making the changes you are about to read?
TEN (10) LIFESTYLE CHANGES THAT AFFECT HEALTH.
In this fast-paced world we live in, it has been increasingly difficult for people to find the time to exercise. Exercise should be a part of your daily routine because physical activity is essential to keeping your body healthy.
Exercise not only improves your health but also reduces the risk of having certain diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Also, it improves your mental alertness and the strength of your muscles, including the heart muscles.
There are different exercises you can engage in; from taking strolls to taking part in local sports activities. Choose a physical activity that your body can tolerate and one that you can constantly engage in.
- DIET CHANGE.
An unhealthy diet leads to bad health. Your body makes use of what you give to it; it breaks it down and extracts the nutrients available. It’s sad to look at many people being indifferent to what they eat. The best diet comprises fruits and vegetables.
Did you know that diet-related diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide? A healthy diet reduces the risk of having any of these diseases and can also help to manage those conditions for patients who are already sick.
I know it’s a fast-paced world, but slow down a bit and take care of your health. Eat a balanced diet!
- REPLACING UNHEALTHY FLUIDS.
The best fluid to be taken is water. Yeah, H2O! There are other healthy fluids apart from water, like milk, natural fruit juices, or fruits rich in water. Remember, dehydration reduces performance in activities lasting longer than 30 minutes.
Water is essential to maintain the balance of body fluids in the body. This maintenance is important because the body fluids handle digestion, absorption, transport, and even the maintenance of body temperature.
Caffeine and alcohol should never be substitutes for fluid intake. So, stop filling your flask with them!
- TEMPER CONTROL.
It might seem weird to relate temper with health, but did you know that when you get angry, not only do you feel bad with yourself afterward, but you would’ve also raised your blood pressure?
It has been scientifically proven that people who are prone to anger are more at risk of having coronary (heart) disease than less prone people. It’s a normal reaction to get angry at people and situations, but ‘control’ is the word!
When you are around situations that can make you angry, walk away quietly. Find something to engage in that can take your mind off it. Only address the situation when you’re calm enough, and if possible, have someone with you who can keep you in check.
- PREP TALK.
Your emotional health is as important as your physical health. Self-confidence will not be given to you; you will need to find it inside of you! Be confident in your capabilities and know your worth. Say it until you believe it!
Prep talk might seem outdated, but this is one thing I do sometimes when I need that boost. Only you can do the best for yourself!
- SLEEP CONTROL
As millennials or Gen Z, there is a lot of pressure that can keep you up at night, thereby disrupting your sleep cycle. But the hard truth is, your level of productivity is tantamount to the amount of quality sleep you get.
Imagine this: Mr. A is a Digital Marketer who sleeps for three hours a day, so that he could spend the bulk of his 24 hours on work. Within three months of keeping up with this bad sleep habit, Mr. A was diagnosed with stress-induced chronic headache and hospitalized for TWO WEEKS!
If Mr. A had slept for 6 hours a day, exercised every morning to keep him alert, ate healthy diets, then went about his work, the two weeks’ break wouldn’t have been necessary.
I know you want to be the next Jeff Bezos (I would love that for myself too) but depriving yourself of sleep is not the best way to stay productive.
You can regulate your sleep time using a sleep aid application. I’ve been using the “iPhone Health App” to manage my sleep since my undergrad days, and that was how I could manage three demanding jobs, and still got excellent grades.
- VACATION/STRESS MANAGEMENT
A man/woman who works hard deserves a wonderful vacation. While you might not be able to afford the travel expenses to another country, what about another state in your country?
You do not even need to move an inch: you can decide not to work for a period, spend time with the people you love, and have a good time. That is still a vacation!
It’s 2021, know your body, don’t overwork yourself, know when to take breaks, and learn how to maximize those breaks.
- HAVE FRIENDS (DEPRESSION)
Friendship is a gift from God to you in a world filled with chaos. If you think you can do life alone, think again. Most people who say they have no friends and want none almost always have someone in their lives they can confidently share deep thoughts with.
Mind you, you need to choose your friends wisely. When doing so, ensure your values align because if they don’t, it’s either you get dragged down, or you eventually part ways. Save yourself the wasted time and prayerfully select a friend.
Did you know that having a close friend reduces your chance of getting depressed or even committing suicide? Now you know. If you need help on how to choose a good friend, book a consultation with me here.
- START JOURNALING
You do not have to be Chimamanda or Tolkien to pen down your thoughts, feelings, gratitude, and so on. Journaling is therapeutic: it helps you to be more self-aware, eventually becoming a better human to not just you, but everyone around you.
Journaling can even help you control your temper. “How?” When you are angry to the point of cursing someone out, instead of letting out your anger on that person, let it out in a paper or your digital journal instead. You will feel a lot better and would prevent your words from hurting a fellow human who is as flawed as you.
Start journaling today!
- SUPPORT SYSTEM
The best, they say is always saved for the last, right? Similar to the importance of friendship is a support system. A support system could be a member of your household, a friend, or even someone you’ve never met before.
With a strong support system, you can take the world. Remember, Bill Gates had a support system in his best friend, Paul, while Jack Ma had a support system in eight of his friends.
Who is your support system? If you don’t have one yet, it’s about time you do!
OVERCOMING CHALLENGES FACED WHEN MAKING HEALTHY LIFESTYLE CHANGES
Like every new development, changing from an old habit to a new one isn’t always easy. There is always temptation lurking around to get you back to your old lifestyles, for instance, drinking alcohol or raising your voice for long hours at someone who got you angry.
Aside from temptation, there is also that inner voice or people around you who do not see the reason for your decision to change, so they try to talk you out of it.
Some ways to overcome these challenges include:
- Having a strong self-will/determination
- Surrounding yourself with progress-oriented people
- Having a diet/exercise partner
- Setting a reminder on your mobile device to either start journaling, exercising, etc.
- Listening to motivational talks; believe me, it works.
As I round up, making positive changes to your health is a great way to begin the year/ a new season of your life. Once you take your overall health seriously, most things in your life will fall into place.
Remember that quote by Shaw? “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
Make that commitment, overcome the challenges, and enjoy the results!